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Equilibrium-line Altitudes of Late Quaternary Glaciers in the Southern Alps, New Zealand

  • Stephen C. Porter (a1)

Abstract

Equilibrium-line altitudes (ELA's) of former glaciers in the Tasman River-Lake Pukaki drainage basin of the Southern Alps were reconstructed from glacial-geologic data on former ice limits by using an assumed accumulation-area ratio of 0.6 ± 0.05. Late Holocene (Neoglacial) ELA's were depressed 140 m below present levels, whereas those of four late Pleistocene ice advances were depressed 500 m (Birch Hill), 750 m (Tekapo), 875 m (Mt. John), and 1050 m (Balmoral). Reconstructed ELA gradients are approximately parallel to one another and range from 19 to 23 m km−1. Although vertical movement on active faults and isostatic tilting due to deglaciation have both contributed to modification of reconstructed ELA gradients from their original values, the maximum resulting effect probably amounts to less than 2.0 m km−1 and is undetectable from present data.

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Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
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